tv PBS News Hour PBS May 2, 2014 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> woodruff: the latest jobs' numbers show a spike in hiring, but also more americans leaving the labor force. good evening, i'm judy woodruff. also ahead, violent clashes turned deadly today in ukraine. the government launched its first major assault against pro- russian separatists as president obama and german chancellor merkel vowed further action against moscow if it continued to escalate the crisis. plus, a three-part look at africa: outrage in nigeria over the abduction of more than 200 girls from their school, a look at efforts to halt widespread killing in south sudan and we travel to senegal where young
boys pursuing an education are forced by their teachers to beg on the street. >> they sleep on cement or dirt floors, dozens to a room. and for boys who don't make their daily quote, the punishment can be brutal. >> woodruff: and it's friday. mark shields and david brooks analyze the week's news. those are just some of the stories we're covering on tonight's pbs newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
>> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... friends of the newshour. >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> woodruff: the government of ukraine launched a major military operation today against pro-russian separatists in the east. their target was slovyansk, and ukraine's president reported many insurgents were killed or wounded-- but not without cost. james mates of independent television news is there, and filed this report. >> reporter: helicopters in the dawn sky above the city of slovyansk, the start of the british-ukrainian offensive. crisis again. it was a bad start. the flash, one of their aircraft being hit.
the camera tracked it until it crashed. pro-russian fighters cheered as they watched it fall. the ease with which they hit two helicopters and this, indicated sophisticated weapon riis used possibly supplied from across the border. ukrainian offensive appears to have stalled on the outskirts. troops took up positions on the outskirts of slovyansk with no sign they're about to move further. this is part of the ring ukrainian forces threw up around slovyansk where once there was a pro-russian road block, eye set up their own, armored personnel carriers stationed up the road with dozens of troops, but confronting them, angry villagers, furious about what happened this morning. they are the soldiers of their own army and yet these people see them as invaders come to
occupy. i'm standing here to stop ukrainian troops getting into slovyansk, this woman told me. at another checkpoint nearby, they went further trying physically to block the path of armored vehicles. repeated volleys of shots fired over their heads doing very little to deter them. if they do try to move into the central slovyansk, dozens, possibly hundreds of well-organized defenders are there to meet them. they have captured armored vehicles and some are very professional-looking troops. in a city still full of civilians, it would get very ugly. and the east of ukraine, the southern city of odesa erupted in brutal fighting that left four people dead so far. here, pro-ukrainians are not a minority and are fighting back fiercely. with reports of live ammunition
being used and the police nowhere to be seen, it is starting to look perilously like the early stages of a civil conflict. >> woodruff: later, there was word of 38 more deaths in odessa in a building fire linked to the fighting. at least 350 people were killed today in a massive landslide in afghanistan, and local officials said 2,000 others may be trapped. the u.n. mission in the country said the slide engulfed a village in the mountainous northeast. reports from the area said about a third of the homes there were buried under the mud. in syria, the government agreed to a cease-fire in a city once known as the capital of the revolution. under the deal, hundreds of rebels could begin leaving homs tomorrow. that would hand the regime a major victory. the city's been under heavy attack for some weeks. about 200 people were injured today in south korea when one subway train rammed another. it happened in seoul, where some four and a half million
passengers ride the metro system each day. officials said most of the injuries were minor. the wreck followed a ferry disaster that killed hundreds last month. president obama says a botched execution in oklahoma this week was deeply troubling. the condemned man went into convulsions after a lethal injection and ultimately died of a heart attack. today, the president said he supports capital punishment, but he wants a broad review of its use. >> we have seen significant problems-- racial bias, uneven application of the death penalty-- and all these, i think, do raise significant questions about how the death penalty is being applied. and this situation in oklahoma i think just highlights some of the significant problems there. >> woodruff: attorney general eric holder will carry out the review.
on wall street today, the violence in ukraine weighed on investors. the dow jones industrial average lost almost 46 points to close below 16,513. the nasdaq fell three points to finish under 4,124. and the s&p 500 was down two, at 1,881. for the week, all three indexes gained about 1%. still to come on the newshour, what the latest jobs numbers say about the u.s. economy, further threats by the west to increase sanctions against russia over ukraine, outrage in nigeria over the more than 200 girls abducted by extremists, brutal conditions for young boys at schools in senegal, a new push to end the widespread killing in south sudan, plus, shields and brooks on the week's news. >> woodruff: if you saw only the headlines that came out of
today's jobs report, it looked very strong. the labor department reported employers added 288,000 jobs in april-- a good deal more than economists were expecting. and the unemployment rate fell to 6.3%, down from 6.7% in march, to a five and a half year low. but the picture is more complicated as our newshour economics correspondent, paul solman, reports, it's part of his ongoing reporting: "making sense of financial news". >> reporter: the jobs picture brightened last month. employers reporting they added jobs at the headiest pace in more than two years, and hiring picked up in a wide swath of sectors, led by professional and business services, retail and construction. what's more, 36,000 more jobs were added in february and march than previously reported. at the same time, the drop in the official unemployment rate, which comes from surveying
households, while impressive, was driven by a sharp decline in the labor force: more than 800,000 fewer people working or looking for work last month. gerald chertavian is c.e.o of the jobs program year-up. >> i think the jobs report today is moving in the right direction. clearly adding the number of jobs we've added is positive although, in terms of folks leaving the workforce and not looking for a job, if those folks come back in the market and we continue to show declining unemployment? that's what this country needs to do. >> reporter: chertavian runs year up, a national one-year soft and hard skills job training program for young inner city adults, whose official unemployment rate is almost double that of the nation as a whole. last month, over 12% of 16-24 year-olds not in school and looking for work were unemployed. for those with no more than a
high school degree, the rate was higher-- 16.1% in april. for black young adults, a key year-up demographic: 23.3%. >> so we have a significant problem for young adults, especially urban young adults. and we know if they're not engaged in labor markets soon in those early years it has a long term effect in their earning capacity. >> i sat jobless for two and a half years before i decided, okay something has to give. >> reporter: at year up, the likes of 21-year-old shaqueala spend six months being trained, then get internships in a job market that previously shunned them. how hard did you try to get a job? >> i think i went on probably over 40 interviews. it's the, "you only have a high school diploma, from this area, you know we're looking for someone who has a degree or is in college." so no one was willing to say, "i'll take that chance on you." >> reporter: fellow participant
daniel alexandre says that, lacking confidence, connections, money, most of his friends don't see the point of prepping for the job market. and that creates a self- fulfilling prophecy. >> if i were a company i wouldn't go to that individual because i don't see potential there. you know they dropped out, they've given up on themselves so why should i believe in them? >> reporter: chertavian's year up is trying to change that. >> we have to help employers to look beyond the educational discrimination associated with "need not apply if you don't have a four-year degree." >> reporter: it's obviously an immense challenge. in april, hundreds of thousands of young people who never went to college were still out there, looking for work. and hundreds of thousands more didn't even think it was worth it. >> woodruff: president obama and germany's chancellor merkel met at the white house today where the ukraine crisis took center
stage after russia declared the recent geneva agreement brokered with the west to diffuse tensions was dead. jeffrey brown reports. >> we are united in our determination to impose costs on russia for its actions, >> brown: in the white house rose garden this afternoon, there were strong words for moscow. the president warned more severe economic penalties are coming unless russian leader vladimir putin backs off. >> our hope is, is that we shouldn't have to use them. we're not interested in punishing the russian people. we do think that mr. putin and his leadership circle are taking bad decisions and unnecessary decisions and he needs to be dissuaded from his current course. >> brown: mr. obama said there will be no choice but to act if russia disrupts ukraine's presidential election on may 25th. chancellor merkel agreed. >> ( translated ): the 25th of may is not all that far away. should that not be possible to stabilize the situation, further sanctions will be unavoidable. this is something that we don't want.
we have made a diplomatic offer, an offer for a diplomatic solution. so it's very much up to the russians which road we will embark on. >> brown: earlier, though, a spokesman for president putin declared ukraine's military actions today have nullified last month's agreement aimed at defusing the crisis. >> ( translated ): at present, we can regrettably say that those actions by the kiev authorities cancel out all geneva agreements. we appeal to the european capitals, to the united states of america, to give appropriate assessment of what is happening, >> brown: russia also called an emergency session of the united nations security council, where ukraine's representative sharply disputed moscow's claims. >> we reject all attempts of russia to blame the government of ukraine for allegedly failing to implement the agreements. and we state that, despite numerous calls of the international community, the russian federation has taken no efforts to de-escalate the situation and implement geneva agreement.
>> brown: meanwhile, in a washington speech, defense secretary chuck hagel pressed nato allies to increase military spending in response to russia's actions. >> we must not squander this opportunity or shrink from this challenge. we will be judged harshly by history and by future generations if we do. >> brown: hagel said the events in ukraine have "shattered the myth that the end of the cold war brought permanent security to europe." and we assess where things stand with richard burt former u.s. ambassador to germany. he's now managing director at the consulting firm mclarty associates. and david kramer is president of freedom house. david kramer, given today's military actions, how serious is the situation right now and how likely is it to escalate? >> every day gets more serious and every day runs the risk of escalating into a full-blown war. the ukrainian authorities have a right and responsibility to
restore control of territory, part of the ukrainian territory part of crimea sadly forgotten in this narrative. stirred up by putin and the government, trying to destabilize ukraine, trying to keep it from holding elections three weeks from sunday and doing everything they can to try to make ukraine as unattractive and unappealing to the west and the west needs to do a better job, in my view, of imposing tough, hard-hitting sanctions. >> first, richard burt on this situation. is it that clear-cut to you? >> well, i think david is absolutely right that it is becoming increasingly precarious. it looks as one of your early set-up pieces said that we may be on the edge of a civil war, and i think david is also right that the russians are promoting this instability that is growing there in order to create problems for the kiev regime and the presidential elections
may 25th. the real question is how do we respond to this and whether or not we, the kiev regime or even the russians can actually begin to try to put the genie back in the boddle because there -- bottle because there do seem to be forces that are on the verge of becoming out of control. >> brown: we saw chancellor merkel with the president today. the u.s. and europe on the scene. what explains the differences in terms of the response? >> i think until recently, jeffrey, there was kind of a quiet agreement amongst the united states and the europeans that they would be prepared to enact the so-called secretarial sanctions, these broad-based sanctions of the sort we've taken against the iranians, for example, if and when the russians cross the border into eastern ukraine. what i heard today was a different kind of message. i think what we heard from both president obama and, importantly
chancellor merkel, was a willingness to think about broad-based sanctions short of actual overt military intervention, but just greater instability and greater russian activities behind the scenes to sell that instability, not giving the kiev government the opportunity to have the elections and begin to pull the country together. >> brown: david kramer, what did you hear today and what do you want between the u.s. and europe in terms of a response? >> the president and chancellor merkel did seem to be more or less on the same page, but the concern i have is the germans and americans and the rest in the west are too reactive. we are not proactive to preempt and prevent russian aggression. russian forces are already in eastern ukraine, already taking over crimea. the concern is too high for setting the bar for russian tanks and forces to cross the border. they've already infiltrated the territory. the helicopters shot down today
by the separatists and militants were from surface-the-air miss also which only russia could have provided so there's no question russia is causing enormous problems in the region and i think the west needs to be much mora i aggressive and proactive. even what the united states has -- [ audio difficulty ] >> no, i don't think we could. so far, i think the administration has tried to take a small lead with the hope that the europeans will -- [ audio difficulty ] i think that any sanctions now will be that big an impact -- france --
to really persuade -- and since we don't have a package of multi-lateral sanctions it won't work. sanctions helped and the apartheid regime in south africa. our yiewnl lateral sanctions against cuba for many decades have not produced the change we wanted to see. so we have to -- >> brown: what exactly do you think -- [ audio difficulty ] why do you think the allies would come along? >> well, we're making a mistake, in my view. between us and the e.u. -- there's no comparison, obviously, between the russian economy and the cuban economy. russia is very integrated into
the global economy. it is very vulnerable and exposed to sanctions including those just -- [ audio difficulty ] -- u.s. sanctions. it's going to take american leadership -- >> brown: well, if we take energy sanctions, for example, there are plenty of european energy companies already publicly saying they're willing to step in until the -- banks, british banks, french banks would do the same. we need to get mrs. merkel and other european leaders on board and i'm encouraged real progress was made today, but some u.s. leadership, but if we get too far out ahead of the europeans, then we do putin a favor because then it becomes a european-american dispute, not a problem vis-a-vis russia. >> brown: thank you very much.
thanks. >> woodruff: now to an extended look at some developments on the african continent. we start with nigeria-- one africa's most prosperous nations-- where a wave of violence is casting a shadow over plans for a world economic forum there next week. another bomb blast late thursday killed 19 people in the country's capital and outrage continues over the fate of more than 275 schoolgirls abducted by the islamist militant group boko haram. mannir dan-ali is an editor at "the daily trust" newspaper in abuja. i spoke to him by phone a short time ago.
into other countries. is any of this verified? >> what is verified is these girls were abducted more than two weeks ago awe bankruptly on the 15th of last month, and, so far, nobody can say where they are. actually, to the parents of the girls who have been making this effort to try to locate them, but the nigerian authorities also say that. but at the end of the meeting today the nigerian authorities put out a statement saying they are going to find these girls wherever and they will take them back and apprehend and punish the culprits. >> woodruff: what about the parents? what are they saying to the
government and doing? >> actually, they can't understand it took more than two weeks for the government to actually try to verify the actual number of the students because there have been conflicting figures. it started from 100 plus then climbed to 200 and now the next tally which is from the police who have interacted with the principal of the school and parents is that more than 270 of the students were abducted from that school. >> woodruff: well, we know nigeria -- we think of nigeria as a wealthy country with a huge oil resource. it's hard to understand from the outside why the government hasn't been more successful going after boko haram or
whoever is behind this. >> actually, it has been hard for nigerians to understand that. that's why there have been all sorts of confrontations about what may be happening or not happening and that's why people are so distrusting of the authorities. that's why they can't understand that the nigerian security forces that have gone for peace in other african countries, just a lot is how to deal with the abduction and they to actually the series of protests in nigeria asking the government to take it more seriously now. >> woodruff: this meeting next week in nigeria, the world
economic forum, political and business leaders from all over the world. can the government guarantee their safety? >> actually, the government has been saying come to fallujah and hold the meeting. actually one was announced hours ago that all government offices and schools will be shut during the time that the world economic forum will be held next weir in abuja. >> reporter: we thank you for talking with us. >> thank you very much for the opportunity, judy. >> woodruff: we travel now to senegal-- considered one of west africa's rising nations-- home to a stable democracy with plans for universal health care and education. but where a troubling human rights crisis persists. kira kay of the bureau for international reporting has the story.
>> reporter: in a sandy courtyard in the city of saint- louis, a group of young boys begin their evening prayer studies. they are talibeés, meaning students, and they've come 200 miles from their home villages to live with this koranic master, called a marabout. but their studies have only come at the end of a long, hard day's work begging on the streets. it's dangerous, dirty work, up to ten hours a day. along with morsels of food, they are hoping for money. they owe their marabout a quota of about a dollar a day. begging is used to teach talibés humility and resilience. but this marabout admits it's also a matter of simple economics. >> ( translated ): you have to buy these books, medicine, water, electricity, everything that you need in life. and the government doesn't give
it to us. that's why they beg. >> reporter: talibeé aid worker issa kouyateé says what he sees is more sinister. >> the society knows that these marabouts treat these boys like slavery. the government knows these marabouts treat these boys like slavery. most of the marabouts abuse these boys. >> reporter: the talibeé system is unique to west africa, and is rooted in century's old tradition, says imam mouhamed cherif diop. >> ( translated ): it is assumed that i am not capable of giving my children their necessary education because of my affection. that i will tolerate things that i shouldn't. and so we have entrusted our children to the marabouts who live in another village to create this distance to permit a good education. >> reporter: but diop agrees the system-- so valued in this 95% muslim country-- is now being exploited, with at least 50,000 young boys, mostly from poor families, forced to beg. >> ( translated ): it's a
staggering number. a huge number who are begging. and they've moved to the big cities because marabouts who want to use begging as a source of revenue know that's where you'll find the most donors. some of these boys left home so young, they don't remember where they came from. they sleep on cement or dirt floors, dozens to a room. and for boys who don't make their daily quota, the punishment can be brutal. social worker abdou fodeé sow is caring for an 11-year-old whose marabout beat him with a shredded tire. >> ( translated ): with those strips the boy was hit until he bled. and each time that he came back without money from begging he was hit again even though his injuries hadn't yet healed. >> reporter: this talibeé, named arouna, told me he has been beaten more times than he can count. he became a talibeé when he was only nine. now 17, he resents the years he's been kept a virtual captive by his marabout. >> ( translated ): they called me to tell me my mother had died.
i wanted to go home but my marabout said, "no." then my father died and again he refused to let me leave. i still have three sisters at home, and if i can get money to buy phone credit, sometimes i'll call them. >> reporter: i met arouna at maison de la gare, a rare safe haven for boys like him. here they can wash their clothes, take a shower, get medical attention and otherwise take a break from their rough lives. and for that moment, those street-hardened boys briefly become the children they should be. the center is run by issa kouyateé. he offers local marabouts incentives like a new roof or some sleeping mats in exchange for allowing the boys to visit his center in between their begging rounds. but despite years of this work, kouyateé still finds conditions that shock him-- like this school, just feet from the town's reeking garbage dump. >> it's really difficult for me to understand why he's just living here. i don't know the words how to
explain this. it's like the people who are living here are just rubbish. >> reporter: kouyateé notices a boy from the center, scratching from lice despite the clean clothes kouyateé gave him three days before. he tries to convince the marabout to move the school before the rainy season floods it with garbage. but kouyateé admits it will take much larger forces to end the talibeé begging system. a year ago, a candle tipped over in a koranic school in senegal's capital, dakar. eight boys died in the fire. you can still see their begging bowls in the rubble. matthew wells of human rights watch says this tragedy should have been a turning point. >> in the aftermath of the fire, the president of the country and a bunch of other leaders, they came and they said, "this can't happen again, we have to take action to stop this type of abuse." >> reporter: and what's stopping the government from taking that action? >> i think up to now there's been really a lack of courage, i don't think there's a better word, there's a lack of courage from the government to follow
through. it's been thought of as too sensitive, too complicated. and so every time it starts to act, there's a certain group of koranic teachers who react and say, "the government's attacking islam. it's attacking religious education." but there's also lots of religious leaders who spoke up after this event and said, "it's time for the government to take action." so i think really religious allies are there to support the government and now it needs to follow through and take action. >> that is true, that we have to, we can accelerate things, but at the same time you have to handle things in such a way that they don't backfire on you. >> reporter: aminata toureé is the prime minister of senegal. the estimates are there are still 10,000 kids begging just here on the streets of dakar alone. >> what would we do? just take all the 10,000 kids and send them back to their families? they would come back one week later. you have to understand that we're talking to the deep and the core believing of people. one of the policies that we're trying to implement is to come up with the idea of upgrading
the koranic schools, giving them a curriculum where we would mix koranic teaching with modern teaching, with math and french and try to give training to the teachers. >> reporter: this school is considered a model. besides koranic studies, it offers regular academics, with the goal of advancing its students to high school. the school includes girls, not just boys. and, best of all, these students don't beg-- their parents pay a monthly boarding fee; the fees from the richer kids supplement those of the poorer. this pilot program is overseen by mamadou basse from the ministry of education. >> ( translated ): when we visit a school, we look first at the physical condition: is it clean, does it have proper bathrooms, do the children have access to medical care? and then we look at the marabouts: do they meet the necessary requirements to teach? all the schools that fail to comply with the new laws will be
completely closed. the schools that do not practice begging will be promoted by the government. >> reporter: but basse has only eight staff and two vehicles to inspect the tens of thousands of koranic schools in the country. basse is now waiting for a new law to be passed that could give his department more of the support it needs. meanwhile, it is falling to religious leaders like imam diop to sway local attitudes. he has partnered with the grassroots group tostan to bring a message directly to parents and community leaders: that child abuse is un-islamic, no matter where it takes place. >> ( translated ): the koran is here to help people, it is a good thing for everyone who studies it. but to study it, must i live in bad conditions and wear rags? no! i should live in conditions as noble as the koran is for a muslim. >> reporter: and he's going door to door, convincing marabouts to endorse and join the government's modernization program.
>> ( translated ): if the state wants change but the community refuses, it won't work. if the community wants it but the state doesn't follow, that also won't work. we have to combine the efforts of both the community and the institutions. >> reporter: back in saint- louis, another glimmer of hope: with the help of the talibeé center, arouna is now attending a regular school a few hours a day. he wants to become a history or geography teacher. one boy, perhaps rescued from a life on the streets, and a role model for more to come. >> woodruff: this report was produced in collaboration with students from new york university's carter journalism institute. visit our website to watch another story from the project, on senegal's promising gender parity law. our final look at africa brings us to the world's youngest nation, where secretary of state john kerry traveled today, hoping to stop a brutal civil war that's already killed thousands.
jeff is back with this report on south sudan. a warning: it contains some disturbing images. >> brown: it was the secretary's first official trip to south sudan and the mission was urgent: appealing to president salva kiir to end the four- month-old civil war. >> i told president kiir that the choices that both he and the opposition face are stark and clear. and that the unspeakable human costs that we have seen over the course of the last months and which could even grow if they fail to sit down are unacceptable to the global community. >> brown: president kiir announced he's agreed to meet with rebel leader riek machar-- his former vice president-- in ethiopia, as early as next week. kerry said a meeting between the leaders is critical, but u.s. officials say machar made no commitment, during a phone call. fighting erupted in december
after kiir sacked his vice president for allegedly plotting a coup. in recent weeks, hundreds of civilians were slaughtered in the northern oil town of bentiu, and more than one million people have fled their homes to escape the fighting. this week, u.n. high commissioner for human rights, navi pillay blamed both sides. >> the country's leaders, instead of seizing their chance to steer their impoverished and war-battered young nation to stability and greater prosperity, have instead embarked on a personal power struggle that has brought their people to the verge of catastrophe. >> brown: pillay also warned of famine as many of those fleeing their homes are farmers, leaving their crops abandoned as the planting season begins. the international rescue committee lost two of its workers in recent weeks during the fighting. the group's c.e.o is former british foreign secretary david miliband.
welcome to you. secretary kerry has warned of violence that's heading toward genocide. how serious do you see the situation being right now? >> i think that all of our information -- and we've got about 600 workers on the ground around south sudan -- all the information coming to the international rescue committee is that this is a dire situation in terms of the violence, and there is a very real threat it will be compounded over the next few months by growing food shorntles that already affect at least 3 million people. so i think the secretary's words are very well chosen and are an appropriate warning because, after all, this is the newest nation in the world and it threatens to become the bloodiest and that should be a concern to all of us. >> brown: hearing about the diplomatic moves, how much leverage does the u.s. have and what are the chances of bringing the two sides not only together, because they have been together in the past, but actually to some kind of reconciliation? >> the u.s. alongside the u.k.
are absolutely key in forging the comprehensive peace agreement in 2006 that stopped the civil war in sudan, paving the way for the referendum nearly three years ago that allowed south sudan to get its independence. so the u.s., both the administration, successive administrations and congress in a relatively united fashion has played a absolutely key role in south sudan's development up to now. so i think it's important to recognize not just the stake that the united states and others have in south sudan but also the leverage, and i think you saw some of that with secretary kerry's visit today. however, the depth of the divisions mustn't be underestimated. the rebellion has taken significant parts of the armed forces, and the scale of the slaughter that has happened, i think we reported on the hundreds of people killed in bantu which is the far north of the country close to the capital
where we had our two workers slain, there were 60 people killed, over 260 injured inside a u.n. compound. so i think it's very important to say that there is a big hill to climb to get the fighting to stop because the talks next week are not the first attempt to get it to stop and so far are unsuccessful. >> brown: what are the millionle or so people who are displaced, already, where are they going and how much is anyone able to do for them at this point? >> just for the benefit of the viewers, there are about 10 million population in south sudan, a million have been driven from their homes. of that million, 300,000 have gone into neighboring countries, notably uganda, kenya, and 700,000 have been displaced within the country and are seeking refuge in a range of u.n. compounds, the u.n. compound in ben cchi, 25,000
there. we are the only n.g.o. and two others where people are fearful of their lives and stepping out. so i have an enormous level of tension with armed gangs roaming around and in some case storming the u.n. compound. that's why there's a big responsibility both on the government of south sudan and the rebel leader from the vice president of the country mr. machar. the threat of famine needs to be understood. the rains have come to south sudan, that means growing numbers of people are cut off from access to food aid and that's why emergency preparations are made to drop food aid into the country. >> brown: that's exactly what i wanted you to ask about, the potential for famine you raised. so how imminent is that and what is being done or can be done to avoid it? >> in the short term, you have
communities cut off by the rains and, so, emergency response means essentially air-borne drops to try to reach families in need. however, the fact the fighting has stopped planting, so there hasn't been proper planting of crops for the next cycle and that means, come the end of the year, early next year, the threat is not just that 30% of the population are in food shortage, that's the situation at the moment, u.n. estimates are that over 3 million people are short of food, the danger is in the early part of next year we could be facing a situation where the majority of the south sudanese population, short of 10 million, are in need of food. the conflict and the famine come together in a deadly combination. >> brown: dvd, head of international rescue committee, thank you so much. >> thank you. >> woodruff: and we return to the u.s. for the analysis of
shields and brooks. that's syndicated columnist mark shields and "new york times" columnist david brooks. welcome, gentlemen. let's go back to the lead story tonight, mark, that's the jobs report. good news, 288,000 jobs created in april. the unemployment rate is down. what does that add up to and does it make a difference politically somehow? >> well, first of all, it's the 50th straight month of job creation which is good news. there are 409,000 more jobs in the country than there were when this recession began. it took us the longest time to return to that, some seven years, judy. it's good news. there is 36,000 more jobs added than were first reported in february and march. so in that sense, it's good news. but there are underlying, continuing problems. 35% of the unemployed people have been out of work more than six months. this is the highest percentage of long-term unemployed people
in the history of recorded record keeping in this country. the last 75 years, only reached 26% once in the 1980s. so this is a real problem. you had the other dark figure is 100,000 people dropping out of the job market and that has to be a concern. it is encouraging news. so -- >> politically, a couple of months like this and you could begin to feel some sense of confidence. right track-wrong track number would begin to move. we had a few blips, but maybe we're building momentum especially since this was so broad-based. as a policy matter, one of the things that mark talks about, the terrible drop in the labor force participation rate, i'd love to see research into psychological effects. i know it's out there. a piece was done a year ago, what happened to people
psychologically who are so far out. you have a gap in your resume, that's obvious. then there are psychological effects, loss of self-confidence, loss of skills, loss of getting up in the morning, just feelings of what am i doing here, isolation. so you have these devastating effects. how do we counteract the effects and what are the policy proposals to counteract effects for what is now a pretty significant part of the population. >> woodruff: and paul focused in his report on inner city and young people that what the two of you are saying is it's pervasive throughout the economy. >> oh, it is, and that sense of isolation from being out of work for a long time, unfortunately, one of the first questions americans ask each other when they meet is what do you do, and when you don't do something, it puts you immediately on the defensive and it does erode yourself confidence. >> one other issue that feeds into this in south dakota, there are mass prescription drugs, the
drugs are growing, almost rampant out there all around the country, and, so, it all feeds into problems that are not just urban. >> woodruff: for any democrats out there or the white house hoping for some -- what about mid-term elections? >> i think it's good if you get two or three months like this. essentially, there are three factors that determine, in my judgment, what happened to the mid-term elek, and it's the president's job rating, twi latest "wall street journal"-nbc poll this week was up from where it had been. 44% approval underwater. but david mentioned whether the country is headed in the right direction or the wrong track, and it's 27% right direction, 63% wrong track. those are depressing numbers for the incumbent party and i think that if you get two, three, four months in a row of good economic news, that could really change that number.
>> woodruff: and next tuesday is officially the primary vaccines. we start to see primaries in a number of states across the country and, right now, david, the conventional wisdom is republicans hold on to the house and they have a decent shot at taking over the senate. >> 50/50 shot at the senate, and for the primaries, the story is how many of the people will respectfully called crackpots will get nominated. some of the tea party candidates, some of the political new corms who are challenging them, and the last couple of cycles has been the established candidates have turned loose and you have candidates who are unelectable. how are the newcomers doing this time and the general trend is not well because the established candidates have moved right. second because some are getting much better at exposing some of the political weaknesses of the
neophytes, for scandals and newcomers make mistakes so there is more pressure on them so looks like a better year for some to have the republican candidates. >> democrats always hope they will nominate the unelectable. christine o'donnell, richard murdoch and todd akin, those were seats that the republicans should have won, could have won and would have won but for the flawed republican nominees that made themselves the issue. and the problem with democrats is defending seats in states that president obama did not carry. so it's not enough just to reenergize the obama coalition, you have to reenergize the obama
coalition and add to it those who hold on to the president. the republican brand is the worst its ever been. people feel less friendly and positive towards the republicans than at anytime. >> it's a mystery, that one. we hate them but we may want them. >> woodruff: one of the other things the democrats are worried about right now is the administration, the president's standing on foreign policy. the president comes back from his trip to asia greeted by yet another poll showing a lot of disapproval of his handling of the economy of rome and other issues about foreign policy. and criticism from everywhere. we were going to show the cover of the latest issue of "the economist" magazine, what would america fight for.
the questions are coming from the right and also the left. is this kind of criticism deserved? >> i think halfway. i do think there's a fraying of the international order. we have an order that the nation says you don't invade international borders, free trade, there are procedures you organize international affairs around and taken for granted in the post world car and post cold-war. putin is grabbing ukraine, crimea, the chinese are aggressive in the maritime waters, iran in the middle east. we've seen the rise of regional powers and we've not seen that and that would be a disaster long-term. we're reestablishing and reasserting the international order, it is the job of the united states. has been obama been good at that? in some ways noneffective, red
lines crossed, and it's a much better problem. the republicans have not helped by refusing to ratify any treaty, let the american fabric go and then the american public wants to pull inside. and the fabric of procedures is fraying and that's bad. >> woodruff: and the president held a news conference overseas the last few days and said, what do they want me to do? you know, we have been in these wars and are they saying we should do more? they say no. what should we do? >> the president's tradition is pierced. he was upset and with some legitimacy. the fact is, we're operating in a reality of the last decade of this country, in a sense that the majority of americans believing that we were deceived and misled into war in iraq, that whatever our experiences in
afghanistan and iraq, they will not be seen as successes and they are not viewed that way and, at the same time, the american people who were essentially spared any involvement in any of those wars were just really sort of soured on american involvement in the world. i give the president credit, quite frankly, because he's dealing not only in this situation, but the sanctions david talks about are being opposed openly by many american companies right now. catapillar and others. boeing is terrified of the plane contract, that airbus could move into russia and take that. if, in fact, you didn't have a coalition with all of the european countries moving at the same time. that's the only way sanctions will make a difference. i think putin is the real outlaw. no question the chinese on the
islands and the middle east is generous. but as far as the rest of the world, the 195 nations, i think putin is the real outlier. >> i disagree with that. i think some of the failure of the japan trade deal, that's part of the fraying. some of the restrictions on the movement of people. we surely have a problem of a death by a thousand cuts that there's no individual case where we should get really exercised. we're not going to commit troops to ukraine. we're not going to do anything crazy about iran. we're probably not going to declare any moral world war on china. so it's all these discrete problems, none of which merits this gigantic response, but collectively can do damage, so that's the problem we're in. i agree with mark about the hangover from iraq and afghanistan, but i think obama will give speeches where he'll say, that's not my foreign policy but i am going to have an assertive foreign policy. >> i will say, if there's been a failure of the president -- he's just a great public speaker --
it's been what america's mission is and what our interests are. i really think, judy, the reality is there is not the will to go to war in this country right now and people who are talking about it do so recklessly. >> woodruff: mark shields, david brooks, thank you. >> woodruff: again, the major developments of the day: tensions escalated sharply in ukraine as government forces launched a major operation against pro-russian separatists in the eastern city of slovyansk and the u.s. economy added 288,000 jobs in april while the unemployment rate fell to 6.3%-- the lowest in five and a half years. on the newshour online right now: artist myra green explores racial stereotypes in her new photo project titled "my white friends." the images have provoked a
discussion on race and diversity and you can also weigh in on "art beat." all that and more is on our web site, newshour.pbs.org. and a reminder about some upcoming programs from our pbs colleagues. gwen ifill is preparing for washington week, which airs later this evening. here's a preview: >> ifill: there are a lot of moving puzzle parts out there this week from the big drop in the jobless rate to the search for diplomatic footing in ukraine to next week's mid-term primaries. watch us put that puzzle together later tonight on "washington week." judy? >> woodruff: tomorrow's edition of pbs newshour weekend jeff sits down "breaking bad" star bryan cranston about his latest role as president lyndon johnson in the broadway play, "all the way." and we'll be back right here monday with a look at raising kids in the 21st century.
we kick off a week of parenting now. that's it for tonight. i'm judy woodruff. have a great weekend. thank you and good night. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: ♪ ♪ moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects us. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations.
>> funding of this presentation is made possible by the freeman foundation, newman's own foundation, giving all profits to charity and pursuing the common good for over 30 years, charles schwab, and union bank. >> at union bank, our relationship managers work hard to know your business, offering specialized solutions and capital to help you meet your growth objectives. we offer expertise and tailored solutions for small businesses and major corporations. what can we do for you? >> and now, "bbc world news